If you are injured in an accident, your initial focus will probably be on your health and emotional well-being. Once you start to feel better, however, you may start to wonder whether you have any legal recourse for what happened to you. If your accident was caused by another person, you may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit against them.
The timeline to resolve a personal injury claim can be anywhere from several weeks to more than a year. If the insurance company accepts liability and offers a fair settlement, then it usually won’t take more than a few months for you to get a settlement check. If they contest the claim and you have to file a lawsuit, it may take a year or longer to resolve the case.
Based in Virginia Beach, the law firm of Poole, Brooke, Plumlee has significant experience handling all types of personal injury claims, from car accidents to slip and falls to product liability. We offer free initial consultations for personal injury cases, and never charge a fee unless we recover money for you. Reach out today to learn more about how we can help.
How Long Will a Personal Injury Case Take?
Each personal injury case is unique. There is often no way to predict exactly how long it will take to resolve a particular case because a lot depends on how the other side responds to your claim. For example, if an insurance company decides that your injuries aren’t as bad as you have claimed, it could take much longer to achieve a settlement.
However, there are some factors that a Virginia Beach personal injury attorney will analyze to determine a general timeline. If liability is clear, then it may take a matter of weeks or months to achieve a settlement. However, cases that involve more serious or catastrophic injuries often take much longer to resolve because of the amount of money at stake – potentially a year or longer.
It can be frustrating to wait this long to get a settlement for your personal injury case. In the end, it is often worth it to ensure that you get the full amount of compensation that you need to recover. A skilled personal injury attorney can give you a rough timeline of how long your case will take, and will keep you updated throughout the process.
Stages of a Personal Injury Case
If you are hurt in an accident in Virginia, then you have the right to seek financial compensation from the at-fault party. This process can take as little as a few months to a year or longer. The personal injury lawsuit timeline begins after your accident when you are deciding what to do next.
Get Medical Treatment
One of the most important things that you should do after any accident is to get medical care. Even if you think that you weren’t badly hurt, it is important to see a doctor as soon as possible. This will help you get the right diagnosis and treatment. It also creates a link between your injuries and the accident.
Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer
The next step in the personal injury lawsuit timeline is to find an attorney to represent you. While you may have already been approached by an insurance adjuster, it is critical that you not talk to anyone from the other party’s insurance company or sign any paperwork until you have had a chance to talk to a lawyer.
Virginia has a strict deadline for filing personal injury lawsuits, known as the statute of limitations. Talking to an attorney soon after your accident can make sure that your case is filed on time. Most personal injury law firms offer free initial consultations, so there is no risk or obligation in setting up a consultation and learning more about your rights.
Once you have picked a lawyer to represent you, they will begin to investigate your claim. This may include visiting the accident scene, obtaining an accident report from the police, interviewing witnesses, and reviewing medical records. At the same time, your attorney will be researching case law to build a strong claim for damages (compensation). Depending on the facts of your case, this stage could take several weeks or as long as a few months.
Demand Letter and Negotiation
Most personal injury cases are resolved via settlement. In many situations, a settlement can be achieved without a lawsuit being filed. Once the investigation is complete, your attorney will send a demand letter to the insurance company and will begin the negotiation process. This can take as little as a few weeks or as long as several months.
Filing a Lawsuit
If the insurance company is unwilling to offer you fair compensation for your injuries, then your Virginia Beach personal injury lawyer may advise you that it is necessary to file a lawsuit. If you need to file a lawsuit, then it will typically extend the personal injury lawsuit timeline significantly, especially if the case goes to trial.
After a lawsuit is filed, the formal discovery process begins. Discovery is a time when each side exchanges information that is relevant to the lawsuit. Discovery can be a lengthy process, but it is a necessary step in the process of getting you the money that you deserve for your injuries.
In the months after a lawsuit is filed, negotiations will continue – right up to the eve of trial. 97% of personal injury cases are resolved outside of court. However, it may be necessary to take the case to trial. If you do have to go to court, then it may take a year or longer for your case to be over.
What Sort of Compensation Could You Get?
In a personal injury case, you may be entitled to damages for all of your losses. This may include things such as property damage, medical bills, lost wages, reduced earning capacity, pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of enjoyment of life, scarring, and disfigurement. In wrongful death cases, the family members may also be entitled to compensation for burial expenses and other losses.
The value of any personal injury case is based on the severity of the injuries, the amount of insurance that the at-fault party has, and whether liability can be established. For example, if you are in a car accident and walk away with minor bruises and scrapes, you will likely recover less than a person who suffered a traumatic brain injury in a similar crash. A seasoned personal injury attorney can help you get the full amount of compensation that you deserve based on the specific facts of your case.
How Our Personal Injury Lawyers Can Help
Being in any type of accident can be scary and overwhelming. Understanding more about the process and the personal injury lawsuit timeline can give you a sense of control. While there is no single answer to how long it will take to resolve your case, an experienced attorney can give you a ballpark estimate of the value and timeline of your case.
Poole, Brooke, Plumlee represents injury victims throughout Virginia who have been hurt in all types of accidents. For each client, our goal is to get maximum compensation as soon as possible so that you can move forward with your life. To learn more or to schedule a free initial consultation with personal injury attorney, give us a call at 757-499-1841 or fill out our online contact form.